Choosing the right group of writers was an arduous task that took much longer than expected, but I think you’ll all be very pleased with the results. There were over 40 applicants and initially Chris and I had only planned on selecting 5 for the Batman News Review Team, but with so many terrific people ready-to-go and rumors of even more bat-titles on the horizon we ultimately decided to bump the crew up to 6. Below you’ll not only find a brief introduction to each new reviewer, but I went ahead and included the Reviewer Bible. This was some little something I quickly typed up regarding Batman News’ “House Style” for the comics section and it was originally going to be emailed to the team members only, but as a fan of transparency I thought it would be good to just go ahead and place it here. Not only does it give all of our readers an idea of what we strive for here at Batman News, but it gives you the chance to contact us if one of the new guys ever goes rogue.

Brandon Mulholand Reviewer

Brandon Mulholand

Reviews:

  • Batman
  • Batman Eternal
  • Batwing
  • Detective Comics

Hello to the community at Batman-News.  I have been a fan of Batman for the last 25 years.  My interest in him is not confined to that time frame however as I have read over 4,000 Batman comics spanning all 75 years of his career.  I have never meet another individual in person who has known more about Batman than me but I am not so arrogant as to believe that they are not out there.  While I enjoy the newer works I think that there is no part of Batman’s history that should not be relevant and I will strive to expose it to you and encourage you to take part in it.  Yes, I wore Batman socks at my wedding, along with Batman cufflinks.

Elena Carrillo Reviewer

Elena Carrillo

Reviews:

  • Batgirl
  • Harley Quinn
  • Injustice
  • Legends of the Dark Knight
  • Any odd appearances, one-shots, etc. (examples: Hawk & Dove #6Secret Origins #2 or DC Presents: Batman Adventures #1)

Hello Batfans!  I am an archivist by profession and a many decades-long comic-reader who dabbles in art and writing. Some years ago, woefully under-read in Batman comics and feeling blue over the impending end to Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, I set a goal for myself to read every major Batman title since Detective Comics #27 by the time Batman celebrated his 75th birthday. I scratched that goal off my bucket list as of Summer 2013 while simultaneously wading through the New 52 and now I’m thrilled to have made the BatReview team as a next step in feeding my Dark Knight addiction. I’m also thrilled to be assigned such a great range of books (I always say there’s enough Batman for everyone!). I just hope my little feet will fill the shoes of a true review giant!

 

Jesse Kennedy Reviewer

Jesse Kennedy

Reviews:

  • Batman & ____
  • Batman/Superman
  • Futures End
  • Grayson
  • Justice League
  • Teen Titans

Hello Batman-News community! It’s good to see you, you look great! Me? I’m doing fine. I just got this cool opportunity reviewing some of my favorite Batman comics and I’m…no no, go ahead and finish your text message, I’ll wait. No, it’s fine. I’m just introducing myself here and I thought you’d…I’m not being a jerk. Look, I know I’m not Andrew but give me a chance. Who knows? Maybe you’ll actually like what I… okay yes, it was nice to meet you too. Have a good day.

Jay Yaws Reviewer

Jay Yaws

Reviews:

  • Batman ’66
  • Batman Beyond Universe
  • Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination
  • Teen Titans Go!
  • Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse

My name is Jay Yaws, I live in Texas, and I’ve been a Batman fan for going on twenty years now.  Dick Grayson is my personal favorite character, and I love pretty much every animated series from the original DCAU lineup all the way up to “Beware the Batman.”  In addition to reading comics, I enjoy spending time with my wife and son, playing bass at local churches, and drinking what would probably be considered just a bit too much coffee.  It’s quite the honor to join the Batman News team and I’m looking forward to reading the new contributions to the site.

 

Sean Buckley Reviewer

Sean Buckley

Reviews:

  • Earth 2
  • Earth 2: Worlds End
  • Red Hood & The Outlaws
  • Justice League 3000
  • Worlds’ Finest

Hi there, Batman News community! My name is Sean Buckley, your resident extra-dimensional and mystical specialist and proud member of the new review team.  I’m a 22-year old MFA student at Fairfield University’s Graduate School, and have spent the last seven years working on my creative and analytic writing abilities.  I grew up a massive Batman fan, ever since my three-year old self first saw Mask of the Phantasm.  Before signing on to Batman News, I was an All-American athlete and writer for a number of different publications.  Going forward, I’m excited to explore the more otherworldly bat-titles and have an open forum for any conversations about The Caped Crusader.  I hope to hear from everyone online and look forward to building an awesome arena for showing these titles the love they deserve.  See you there!

Joshua McDonald Reviewer

Joshua McDonald

Reviews:

  • Batwoman
  • Catwoman
  • Birds of Prey
  • Suicide Squad

About me… Oh God… Umm…. Hello, my name is Josh, and I’ve been an extreme nerd for the past seven years. I relapsed again today by reading five comics, and for convincing myself that the only reason I worked out today was because I’m destined to be a super hero…. It’s wishful thinking, but I own it. I’m from Texas, but I now call Los Angeles home. I’m excited to be part of AndrewBatReview Incorporated (Andrew deserves credit for the name), and I look forward to sharing my opinions with you, and you sharing yours with me! I’m passionate about Batman and storytelling, and ultimately shooting to do the same thing Andrew did for me: get people (back) into reading, discussing, and ENJOYING comics. I hope I make all of you happy, and Andrew proud. Let’s nerd out and see where this crazy journey takes us!

This weekend the comics section will make its return–bigger than ever– with loads of great reviews and an exclusive preview of Injustice: Year Two #6!

Click the spoiler tag below for the full Reviewer Bible

Spoiler

The Batman Comic Reviewer Bible

By

Andrew Asberry

Introduction

There is a place where fans of Batman can go to rediscover their love of Gotham, gather reading suggestions to sagas they never new existed, hear insights that make them think of the characters and the setting itself in an entirely new way, and simply relax to the musings of their fellow fans.

Writing Style

Voice

You are not a shepherd guiding their flock in how to properly appreciate the art form.

You are not the authority.

You are not a spokesperson for your readership.

What you are is a passionate fan that has the privilege of being the first to speak. That is all.

Never speak as if your opinion is a fact. If you use the phrase “I think” or “I feel” often enough, you’ll find that those with opposing views will be less likely to attack you in the comments section. Subtly reminding everyone of your humble role in this way will put them at ease, even if it is subconscious. You are not a closed fist forcing your ideas forward; you are an open palm making an offering.

Humor/Negativity

Humor is subjective, but there are some things that should be kept off-limits. Unless you’re being satirical and making it clear you’re being satirical, don’t ever be racist or sexist or homophobic or channel any other hateful mindset. Forget that you’re writing a document that will be read on a digital screen with an infinite gap between a reader’s rage and your guilt, and imagine yourself instead as a person taking a stage or mounting a soapbox in a town square. Would what you’re about to say get your ass kicked? Don’t say it then. Anyone reading your words is there as a Batman fan first and foremost. Forget about all the inspirational, deeply resonating things that can be said about the character for a moment and realize the real truth—Batman is an escape. Your reader has found a brief moment to step away from the stresses of work and rigors of daily life as a human being to indulge in your meditations of a fantasy they hold dear. Don’t seek to offend. Your opinions may differ from theirs, true, but if you do your job right then a disagreement does not have to lead to their dissatisfaction.

Do not say anything about a writer or artist that you would not say to their face. You’re here to be critical of the work, not deliver personal attacks or question their character. Joke all you want about them being a terrible artist or writer, but unless you’ve got the sand to say the same things to them in a one-on-one conversation then don’t bother.

Do not make fun of an artist’s name no matter how silly or pretentious their stage name may sound.

Again, don’t seek to offend. I feel the need to state this twice because it’s an important one to remember. You’re not here to be snarky. I know that negative reviews are more likely to attract readers than positive ones, but those aren’t the hits you want. Roasting a comic can be fun, but if you’re doing it every time then it’s time to walk away. And if you’re going to tear a comic down, offer a few words on how it could be rebuilt the right way. Offering insight into how a comic can be made better makes for a better review not only because it gives readers more to discuss, but you never know when someone from the comic’s creative team might be reading and more often than not they will take note of your constructive criticism in a positive way.

Swearing

A little cussing is fine, but use your curses sparingly. Despite Batman’s popularity among adults and the common presence of the online forum and modern day comic shop being comprised of mostly grown-ups there are a number of readers coming to Batman News who are indeed children. It’s not so much that I fear their innocence being lost by reading a dirty word, but think of what would happen if a protective parent peering over their shoulder read such foul language? They’d tell them not to go to that site anymore, perhaps even block it! Now their Batman education has been stunted all because you had to speak with the vernacular of Deadwood in a review of about Scooby-Doo Team-up.

Requirements

You have absolute freedom to come up with any format you like. Want to do a “Good” and “Bad” section? Fine. Want to divide it by “Plot” and “Dialogue” and “Artwork”? Great. Do whatever you want. Personally, I think kicking off each review with a single paragraph summing up the previous chapter while setting up the issue at hand is a great way to go, but it’s entirely up to you. Your opinion is also entirely your own. No one will ever step in and tell you what score you should give a comic, but if readers notice you pulling an “Armond White” (giving negative scores just for the sake of gathering attention) we’ll kick you out. All that is truly required of you is:

1. Write at least 500 words– make the visit worth their time.

2. A long review is great, but don’t you dare divide an article between multiple pages in an effort to accumulate even more hits. You hate reading articles like that when you browse the web, right? Well, guess what? Your audience hates it too. This is the internet, there’s no excuse for breaking up a piece into pages when it’s a scrolling medium.

3. Two sub-section are required in every review and these are the “Recommended If…” and “Overall” sections. This is where you’ll get directly to the point, but don’t do such a good job summing up your article that nobody wants to scroll back to the top and see everything you have to say. Sprinkle these informative segments with details that pique your reader’s curiosity.

Standards

Not all comics are equal. Be mindful of a book’s intended audience and its importance to continuity. For example, you should be incredibly lenient of an issue of Tiny Titans and hold the main Batman title to the highest standard. Always keep in mind what you believe your book should try to achieve. Also pay attention to the price of your book. A product’s performance should reflect its price.

Scores

We use a 10-point scale because people are more likely to read a review that has a score attached to it. You can’t count on people clicking your article if they don’t know what they’re getting into, not until you’ve generated a following at least. People see the score and then they skim through to find out why the book earned that number. Your job is to make sure the copy is good enough that they stop skimming, relax, and fully indulge in your commentary.

A 1 is awful. Don’t hesitate to give a book a 1 if you absolutely hated it. You’re not waiting for a comic that’s nothing but feces-smeared pages accompanied by a used syringe. You should also not be afraid of committing to a 10/10 when you find a book you adore. No book is perfectly bad or perfectly good, but what’s the point in having a 10-point scale if you don’t use it? Many sites approach this scale like they’re grading a math test in the American school system. Often you’ll see sites that give a book a 5/10, which to them is a 50% score and that’s an “F” for “Failing.” This is wrong. This is not how scores should be used in the reviewer’s highly subjective field. It renders all numbers 1-4 totally worthless.

Conclusion

Never forget that this is an opportunity to make someone’s day a little more enjoyable and that your insights could spark someone else’s imagination or inspire a casual fan to pick up a book and begin reading again. When your enthusiasm fades, when the task of writing reviews becomes a chore and you’ve said all you have to say about these characters– go.